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September 13, 2013, Volume 13 Number 17

Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

"Spice up your weekend!!" That's what's in store for you if you plan on going to the Donne Festival in Mangilao which continues today through Sunday (Sept 15). This is the 4th year for this "pika" festival which also coincides with the village's celebration of Santa Teresita, Mangilao's patron saint. You can purchase donne (pepper) plants, get recipes, buy a variety of donne products from local vendors like TUNU, and participate in other activities. This festival is fun for the entire family. The event lasts from 10 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. every day except Sunday, when it will close at 5:00 p.m. There will be three cooking competitions - The Mangilao Kadon Pika Competition, The Mangilao Chili Competition, and the Mangilao Dinanche Competition. This event is free to the general public. For more information, contact Dot Diaz at 734-2163.

I wanted to start things off with a bang for this newsletter which is jam-packed with articles on our northern neighbor Saipan as well as here on Guam. We also have some very HUGE things happening in the culinary world this coming week when the MCA (Micronesian Chefs Association) will be hosting the WACS Pacific Challenge and Salon Culinaire. WACS stands for the World Association of Chefs Societies and starting Tuesday you may see some visiting culinary dignitaries from Australia, New Zealand, Cook Islands, and Fiji being escorted around by MCA members. During the week there will be chef competitions held at GCC both for junior chefs and professional chefs. This is a first time the MCA has hosted the Pacific Challenge. It's going to be exciting and if you do see any of these visiting chefs, please give them a hearty "Hafa Adai" greeting and smile!!

Ken, the Guam Food Guy

The Brown Bag Cafe - Tumon Now Open!
Tumon Business Center (next to the Kracked)
Pale San Vitores
Hours : Monday - Saturday 11:30 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.

It happened quietly about 2 weeks ago when Lori Tydingco opened her 2nd Brown Bag Cafe location in Tumon next to her other eatery, the Kracked Egg, which is open from Midnight to Noon . Brown Bag serves espresso based beverages (hot and cold), teas, sandwiches, wraps, salads, and baked goods. They were the first restaurant to offer brown rice fried rice! The new Tumon location is beautifully decorated and has living plants on each table. Free Wi-Fi is available here as well. There is ample parking in the rear of the Tumon Business Center, which also houses an Esprit Store as well as Burger King. Hopefully by the time you read this they'll have addressed the difficulty customers experience opening the doors to the cafe - something about balancing the air pressure. But don't let that get in the way of enjoying a relaxing cup of java and a chocolate muffin top!

Hyatt Regency Guam's Executive Chef Mirko Agostini Sweeps 2013 Celebrity Chef's Cup

Congratulations to Chef Mirko Agostini for winning both the coveted Chef's Cup and the People's Choice Award at the recently held 11th Annual University of Guam Endowment Foundation's Celebrity Chef's Cup Competition, which is held in collaboration with the Micronesian Chefs Association. Held at the Sheraton Laguna Guam Resort on August 28, this sold-out event's five course dinner theme was Colors, with each of five competing chef's teams being assigned a color for their respective course. Chef Mirko's randomly-selected course was Dessert and his color was brown, which was fitting since his award-winning creation was titled a "Symphony of Chocolate Decadence". Described as "Decadent Chocolate Cake served with a French Coffee Macaroon, Guahan Coconut and Brown Caramel Sauce", this special creation was the darling of a challenging competition. The macaroon was amazing as it wasn't sweet-it literally melted on the palate! Chef Mirko's Team Brown included "celebrity" chefs Louise Muna, Deidre Leon Guerrero and Ray Yanger. You can sample this dessert yourself at the Hyatt's Deli as well have it special ordered during the month of September.

We also want to congratulate the four other participating chef teams for doing a spectacular job in pushing out over 450 platings! These colorful celebrity chef teams were lead by Chef Simplicio "JR" Taga of the Outrigger Guam Resort, Chef Daniel Lenherr of the Westin Resort and Spa , Chef Eddie Chien of Delmonico Restaurant, and Chef Toshiyuki Nakajima of the Sheraton Laguna Guam Resort.

PIC's New Pacific Fantasies Dinner Show
"The Best Show in Guam and Micronesia"
Pacific Islands Club

WOW! I thought the previous show was a thrilling adventure! This new show pulls out all stops and is now extraordinary!! This high energy cultural dance show shares dances from Guam, Hawaii, Samoa, Tahiti, and New Zealand. The new re-vamped show features the most spectacular fire-show I've seen in recent memory. No other show has as large a stage as the water-park's lush terraced walls and distant cliffs from which dance troupe members light torches and even ignite a liquid fire waterfall! The new show also has upgraded some of the dance routines and music, which now has a more contemporary disco-esque syncopation, which is a notable departure from the typical "Polynesian" music. Whatever the influence, this show has certainly proven that its performers offer world class entertainment that is unrivalled regionally. The cast and crew provide a seamless, continuous performance of songs, chants, hula, and floating serenades, and manage to change into elaborate costumes made of grass, feathers, colorful flowers and floral patterned material! It is definitely something that will amaze and take your breath away!

Of course, let's not forget the other part of PIC's Dinner Show's fabulous production - the food!! Served under a large open-aired canopy, PIC serves an impressive island-themed buffet complete with local foods including kelaguens, barbecue chicken, ribs, steak, red rice, fresh crab legs, jumbo prawns, and an assortment of appetizers, salads, and desserts. The show starts at 6:30 p.m. nightly and reservations are highly recommended. Contact for reservations and more information.

Mosa's Joint
Bej Jess Building (next to Kave's Bar)
Hours: Monday - Thursday 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Friday - 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Saturday : 5 p.m - 10 p.m.
Sunday : Closed

Those talented, trophy-toting ladies who brought you the awesomely-divine eats at MOSA'S HOTBOX have made a solid landing in the Bej Jess Bldg. (just south of the Bank of Hawaii's Branch) along Marine Corps Drive. They have in the past month opened for dinner, then lunch, and have menus for both. The dinner menu offers an array of appetizers (highlighting a few healthy vegetarian choices), Entree Salads, Quesadillas, Platters, Pastas, Entrees, Badass Burgers, and a Kid's Menu. The lunch menu offers the same appetizers, Entree Salads, and Burgers, but also a slew of Sandwiches, among which is a lamb greek philly, mango bourbon pulled pork sandwich, black pepper crusted ahi sandwich, falafel fold, lamb or chicken gyro, and a memorable reuben ($9.50) I had on Wednesday afternoon, and is now ranked as my top choice for Reubens! Nestled between two slices of toasted rye, Mosa's has packed thick slices of savory corned beef with sauerkraut, Swiss Cheese, and Thousand Island. I had a Greek Salad as my side selection and will certainly have this sandwich again!

Mosa's Joint has a bohemian ambiance with art creations by featuring the works of local artists, namely the imaginative Michelle Pier. Some of their tables are art-pieces, as is the bar which was built by co-owner Monique Genereux's dad, Mikey. (he also built the bar at Jeff's Pirate's Cove) Mosa's Joint is not a fancy smancy restaurant, it's more of a "come as you are" establishment and wears its name "Mosa's Joint" well! Monique's partner is veteran chef Sara Pleadwell, who occasionally pokes her head out of the kitchen (her preferred domain! They have already established a loyal following of foodies who claim the food is "addictive".

Prior to my lunch visit, we ate there on Monday night. I ordered the Deep fried Chicken Wings with horseradish ranch dipping sauce - $11.00. These were slightly battered with a little bit of heat. Zee had the Hummus and Pita appetizer ($7.75). If you don't want Pita bread, you can get veggies.

Zee's main entree was a Greek Platter with Falafel, served with hummus, baba ghanouge, feta cheese and a Greek salad ($15.25). This platter was so large she had to take it home. I had a bite of her falafel and marveled at how light, crispy, and tasty it was (not to mention "healthy"). Other platter choices are lamb or chicken.

My main entree was Mosa's Balsamic glazed lamb chops topped with a zesty lemon basil sauce ($26.50). All entrees are served with a choice of garlic mashed potatoes or rice and grilled veggies or salad. I had the garlic mashed and grilled vegetables (these are great - onions, eggplant, land red bell pepper). The chops were tasty and I have to admit, there were just enough. I did need a little more of that zesty lemon basil sauce. I had a glass of Cabernet to pair with my lamb (Mosa's has a limited selection of wines, beers, and offers a full-service bar.

We managed to save room for dessert so we ordered the Baklava ala mode ($5.75) and the Baked Brownie ala mode ($6.75), both of which were dreamily presented and consumed (sorry diet!!). Monique then asked if we'd tried her Cheesecake of the Day creation, which happened to be a Pumpkin Cranberry Walnut Cheesecake with a Cranberry Raspberry Coulis ($4.95). We ordered it for the photo and Zee made a special gift of this tasty dessert to one of her co-works, who relished it! There's plenty more to eat at Mosa's Joint! We made our debut and will be back for more!

The Shack
Beach Road
Oleai/San Jose
(670) 235-7422
Hours: Tuesday - Saturday
7 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Sunday 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

There's a brand new eatery that recently opened for business on the ocean side of Beach Road directly fronting Oleai Beach Bar & Grill. I'd been following the "buzz" about The Shack on Facebook and knew that there was a lot of interest being generated by this family enterprise, which can be easily summed up as a labor of love. I stopped by on a Saturday morning and marveled at the simple, rustic beauty of the outdoor wooden deck and the garden-shrouded entranceway with its bright yellow sign. The bamboo shrouded edifice and woven thatchwork on either side of the door attests to the attention to detail and work involved and creates that idyllic impression of a shack on a beach.

Inside is a cozy, homey, and spacious habitat with tables, chairs, a sofa, more woven thatched wall treatment and bamboo, and windows on all sides that seem to have sunlight pouring through! The counter where you place your orders had a fresh-baked carrot cake on display along with locally-harvested pure honey, and Saran-wrapped banana bread on sale for $1.00. A menu board lists the Crepe offerings (Savory and Sweet) as well as Espresso beverages, teas, and lemonade. I ordered a Cappuccino ($3.50) and The Standard Crepe ($5.99), which has ham, spinach, mozzarella, provolone and tomatoes. This turned out to be one the better tasting crepes I've had in some time.

The Shack is owned and operated by the Hunter family, and today I was served by Glen Hunter, with whom I'm acquainted. He introduced me to his mom, Gloria, and brother, Randy. Gloria wanted me to try one of her just baked oatmeal cookies (it was delicious - just like mamma makes). I was also talked into trying a slice of Gloria's just-baked carrot cake ($3.45) , which turned out to be a moist carroty slice of heaven!

I then ordered an Americano ($2.99) while checking my messages on my iPad with the WiFi freely available. What a place! The coffee prices are very reasonable and what I had to eat so far was quite good. Glenn asked me if I was going to be here on Tuesday (they close on Mondays), since Gloria makes a daily lunch special that has been quite popular. I'll have to come back and visit during the week when I can have one of Gloria's weekday creations! I'm sure glad I found the Shack! Be sure to check it out yourself on your next trip to Saipan!

Majesty Chinese Restaurant
Beach Road

If you were to ask me what kind of food I'd love to eat when visiting Saipan, it would hands down be Chinese, especially if I was dining with several people. I don't know what it is about Chinese food in Saipan and why it seems to be better prepared than what we get on Guam. I do know that the lunch we had at Majesty Chinese Restaurant was a feast with every dish meeting and exceeding our taste expectations!

From the outside, you can tell that this is a Chinese Restaurant with an ego - something I surmised by the impressive decor and ornamentation. There are red and gold pillars, gold medallions, hanging lanterns, and wooden crabs. The craftsmanship of the exterior is a sign of what awaits inside. The interior ambiance reflects the quality of the food and service guests expect. This is not a large establishment, yet they have done a remarkable job of tastefully designing and placing art pieces to reach regal appearance. That's where the name Majesty comes into play!

There were four of us at the table, which is a good start and what I consider to be the minimal amount of people to fully enjoy a Chinese meal. So, we ordered the Hot & Sour Soup ($12), which was quite good. There was even more than we could eat as a group.

Next came our Steamed Lapu Lapu (1-1/2#). It came served on a platter with soy sauce and green onions with a little ginger. One of our servers de-boned the fish and returned the fish platter to us ready to eat! The fish was so fresh! We were told it had been caught that morning.

Our order for the half-roasted duck was delivered. The platter was garnished with parsley topped by a thinly-sliced carrot in the form of an intricate flower! A small side dish was brought later with orange marmalade and plum sauce. The duck was roasted perfectly and everyone had their fill.

We had ordered some Shumai which didn't disappoint either, although they didn't have any of the hargau (Shrimp dimsum) we wanted. The Yangzhou Fried Rice ($10) was served and was full of ham chunks and shrimp pieces. It was nice, light and fluffy. While we were awaiting the Walnut Shrimp that one of our party had ordered, our server came out with an order of Hong Kong Style Shrimp ($18). This was something one of the managers had suggested we try. This dish had jumbo shrimp that are deep fried and covered with a crunchy crumb mixture with garlic and peppers. The shrimp still had their shells intact. These were crunchy much the same as salt and pepper shrimp, where you can eat the entire shrimp. The meat of the shrimp was so juicy that it would literally explode in your mouth! Extraordinary dish!!!

Our Kang Kung with Garlic ($10) was delivered next. We did our best to finish this but could only manage about two thirds! It was fresh, vibrant and flavorful. The Walnut Shrimp ($18) platter came. It was also presented exceptionally with cucumber garnish and pineapple slices. The walnuts were candied with sesame seeds and there were fruit pieces in the light sauce. Very good again!

Finally, we received the Sesame Balls ($6) that I ordered when we'd ordered the dim sum. These weren't balls as we normally expect. They were elongated ovals, more like buns. They were perfectly fried and the red bean inside oozed out with each bite. I drank plenty of hot jasmine tea relax my stomach-we all did! It was quite a feast after all. I did manage a little Almond jelly dessert bowl they'd offered just to finish the traditional way! All in all, the Majesty Chinese Restaurant was an exceptional dining experience appreciated by our entire team. We were treated like royalty. We were treated "majestically"!

Bon Appetit!
Ken the Guam Food Guy

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